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Smoothies and Natural Supplements for ADHD

Smoothies and Natural Supplements for ADHD

Let’s talk about food, mood, and smoothies. It may seem sentimental to have hot coffee on a rainy night, ice cream on a summer noon, chocolates when we’re sad, wine and cheese when we’re happy, and chicken noodle soup when all else fails. But there’s a science behind our food cravings.

Food and Mood

Food and Mood

If you’ve ever found yourself in front of the TV after a bad day, mindlessly digging ice cream, you know that food and mood are often linked. 

But while scientists recognize stress eating, we are only beginning to explore the relationship between food, mood, and mental health conditions such as ADHD

You may be curious if what your child is eating is affecting their brain. You may be wondering… Can your child’s diet influence their risk for depression or ADHD? And can dietary changes potentially improve your child’s mental health?

The Link Between Nutrients and Mental Health 

Genetics aren’t the only reasons a brain gets “stuck.” Mental health concerns may arise from nutrient deficiencies that impact how the brain and body function. 

Unfortunately, the standard physician training program does not have a single course in nutrition, so most doctors just aren’t educating parents about the impact of food on the brain. 

The research is clear that nutrient deficiencies can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and focus problems. Unfortunately, instead of looking at nutrient deficiencies in lab work and then treating them, some physicians continually push pills without a lot of evidence proving they work. 

Scientists Looking for Answers

Many research studies link diet and clinical issues. For example, a 2005 International Journal of Obesity study found links between obesity and depression and dietary factors. Also, a 2011 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that women who ate more vitamin D-rich foods are at lower risk of depression. 

Hints of a Link

A 2014 study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that utilized data from the Nurses’ Health study associates depression with high sugar intake on a diet filled with soft drinks, red meat, and refined grains. Sugar and refined grains offer little to no nutrients that help the brain regulate. 

Food, Mood, and Smoothies

Food, Mood, and Smoothies

A cup of smoothie is a cup of joy, especially if it’s bursting with fruity flavors. Fruit and vegetable smoothies fill your body with nutrients and influence your mood, making fun moments extra special and sad days a little more comfortable. 

Here are the best smoothie flavors for every mood.

The Super Star Mango Smoothie

Like the bright yellow fruit, the mango smoothie inspires you to embrace your strong flavor and give everyone an unforgettable sweet taste. 

  • 2 cups almond, nut, or coconut milk
  • One fresh or frozen mango 
  • ½ Avocado
  • Optional: 1 cup fresh spinach

The Nutrient-Loaded Pomegranate Smoothie

Nothing takes better care of you than a cup of pomegranate smoothie. Pomegranate is a superfood with at least 15 medically proven health benefits. This middle-eastern drink is great for your mental health. It chases away the blues, and it’s full of antioxidants and vitamin C.

  • 1 cup almond, nut, or coconut milk
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • Optional: 1 cup fresh spinach or kale

Wild Day Wildberry Smoothie 

Mondays? When it’s raining cats and dogs, the first thing to do is clear your mind, preferably with a refreshing cup of Wildberry Smoothie that calms the nerves and induces positive emotions.  

  • 2 cups almond, nut, or coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • One scoop chia seeds
  • Optional: 1 cup fresh spinach or kale 
  • Optional: ½ cup watermelon

Everyday Great Day Banana Smoothie

Having a banana smoothie in the morning wakes you up to positive affirmations. Every sip assures you that It’s Gonna Be Okay!

  • 1 cup almond, nut, or coconut milk
  • One banana
  • ½ Avocado
  • One scoop vanilla vegan protein powder or gluten-free oats 
  • Optional: 1 cup fresh spinach or kale

The Kid-Favorite Strawberry Smoothie

Chemists have documented that certain flavors recall a particular experience. Strawberry takes us back to our childhood when we never worry.

  • 1 cup almond, nut, or coconut milk
  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • Optional: 1 cup fresh spinach or kale

Overload Your Smoothie with Nutrients for Mental Wellness

Magnesium, Omega-3, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C are great for mental health. And they are found in your favorite smoothie ingredients: fruits, nut milk, and vegetables. 

Magnesium for Sleep

Magnesium is a popular fast-acting stress reliever. The natural anxiety supplement improves overall brain and body function because it is the most used nutrient in the body. Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 bodily processes, so we need a lot of it!

It’s incredible how Magnesium acts so fast in the body. Most people feel less stressed after one dose. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, Integrative Wellness Expert, has worked with moms who noticed calmness in their children after an hour of taking Magnesium. It worked so effectively that most give it to the whole family and see a difference in the atmosphere at home.

Magnesium is vital in supporting the nervous system and regulating stress. It also aids in energy production and glucose metabolism, making it crucial for maintaining cognitive function, paying attention, and healthy social behavior.

ATP is the primary energy source for cells, and Magnesium helps regulate its transport and function. Magnesium also plays a role in the function and structure of proteins, nucleic acids, and mitochondria that produce cellular energy.

Glutathione, an antioxidant that helps detoxify the body, also requires Magnesium for synthesis. Therefore, magnesium supplementation can help reduce anxiety by mitigating oxidative stress and improving detoxification. And proper detoxification is necessary to reduce inflammation, which is directly linked to numerous physical and mental health issues. 

You already know that Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical and enzymatic reactions within the body. Some of these functions include metabolizing food, synthesizing fatty acids and proteins, transmitting nerve impulses for better muscle and blood glucose control, and regulating blood pressure. Thus, we need a lot of Magnesium in our bodies. 

Most Americans consume less Magnesium than their recommended daily allowance, which is a problem. When we exhaust our magnesium stores, our brain and body won’t be at their best. Anxiety strikes. Thus, it is a good idea to supplement with Magnesium to prevent anxiety and even reduce ADHD symptoms

Magnesium helps regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which controls the body’s stress response. Having adequate magnesium levels ensures that our bodies can effectively respond to stressors as we go into a sympathetic state and return to a calm, parasympathetic state. 

Magnesium is considered one of the safest supplements for stress regulation. It is in foods such as avocados, legumes, and nuts, so it is essential to have a magnesium-rich diet. It is also available in capsule and powder form, and different types of Magnesium support different functions. 

Avocado

Avocado belongs to the “clean 15,” fruits that often grow without pesticides. The cool, creamy, and delicious fruit presents a unique nutrient profile of 20 powerful vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and vitamins K, E, B5, and B6. It also contains small amounts of Magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A, and other B vitamins.

Most of the fat in Avocado is oleic acid, which combats cancer and inflammation. The fruit also boasts antibacterial properties for fresh breath.

Besides its mental health benefits, Avocados support your circulatory and digestive systems. It also improves eyesight. 

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are lightly processed whole grains rich in Magnesium, B vitamins, Copper, Iron, Folate, Manganese, and Phosphorus. They are among the healthiest grains on the planet! For those that are gluten-free, there are GF oats available too. 

Vitamin Boost

The cool and refreshing smoothies can brighten up an exhausting day. Feeling anxious? Add some magnesium powder and other vitamin boosts into your drink. Children love smoothies, making the drink the perfect way to make kids with anxiety and ADHD take Magnesium daily. 

Omega 3 for the Heart and Brain

There’s a reason people have been telling you to eat fish. From ADHD prevention to treatment, Omega 3 has the power to make the brain function better. 

Sixty percent of the brain is made of fat — which means that the brain depends on a steady supply of dietary fat for its health and wellbeing. Fat acts as a “lubricant” for neurotransmitters and helps to smooth brain communication, which can be low in those with ADHD. 

Mainly, the brain depends on essential fatty acids (EFA), the building blocks of fat. Fish Oil Supplements and Fatty Fish supply two of the most important essential fatty acids: EPA and DHA. 

Consuming less Omega-3 increases the risk of ADHD. In a study of nearly 200 schoolchildren, those who maintained a diet with less Omega 3 had a 31 percent higher risk of ADHD.

Low Omega-3s in children with ADHD may be genetic. Scientists at MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre in London found that ADHD children had a 60 to 70 percent greater likelihood of a variation in a gene necessary to metabolize fatty acids.

Flax Seeds

Flax Seeds used to be a little-known secret of the middle-easterners who obtained the seeds from the Flax plant, one of the oldest crops in the world. It has high levels of fiber, protein, and Omega-3. It is highly effective in weight loss and lowering blood pressure and can be easily added to a smoothie. Sesame seeds are also a nutrient powerhouse too. 

Chia Seeds

“Chia” means strength for the Aztecs and Mayans. A teaspoon of Chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of high-quality plant protein, and 5 grams of Omega-3. It is a great way to get protein for vegans and a superb source of calcium, even for lactose intolerants.

The tiny black seeds from Silvia Hispanica plants also contain Magnesium, manganese, B vitamins, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. Chia seeds are magnificent for your body and brain. This superfood is very popular among millennials. 

Vitamin B for Stress Management

The B vitamins play an important role in stress and anxiety management and an alert brain. 

B vitamins are essential for keeping the nervous and digestive systems healthy, metabolic functions running smoothly, and brain cells functioning properly. B vitamins are used to help reduce fatigue, improve mood swings, and decrease anxiety.

The body does not store B vitamins well, so we need to replenish them through diet and supplements. Stress and illness can increase the need for B vitamins, so it is essential to get enough through diet or supplements. Foods with B vitamins include leafy green vegetables, legumes, eggs, and nuts.

There are several B vitamins, each with its specific benefits. They all support proper nervous system function, and that has a direct implication for those with anxiety.

Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, is essential for the body to make neurotransmitters like serotonin. This helps the body deal with depression, stress, and anxiety effectively.

The B vitamins include (B1) thiamine, (B2) riboflavin, (B3) niacin, (B5) pantothenate, (B6) pyridoxine, (B9) folate, and (B12) cobalamin. Many people take B complex vitamins containing all of the B vitamins to support their nervous system.

A common genetic mutation called methylenetetrahydrofolate (MTHFR) inhibits the body’s processing of folic acid and other essential B vitamins.

Getting B vitamins from food sources like whole grains, rice, meat, eggs, dark leafy vegetables, fruit, and legumes should be a priority for the developing brain. B vitamins can also be taken in supplement form to ensure you get enough of these essential nutrients.

Pistachios

Pistachios are delicious, sweet, and creamy nuts rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, thiamin, fiber, and healthy fats. Add them to your favorite banana, vanilla, or avocado smoothie, or put them in your kid’s lunch box.

Protein for Focus

Protein-rich foods like lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy products can benefit people with ADHD. The body uses these to produce neurotransmitters, the chemicals brain cells release to communicate with each other. 

Protein can also help regulate blood sugar levels, which reduces hyperactivity and impulsivity, as well as regulates mood

Protein Powder

The body uses protein to build and repair muscles and bones, especially after a workout. Meanwhile, protein in the morning helps you feel fuller longer. The easiest way to get protein in your smoothie is through a scoop of protein powder. 

Protein powders are very popular nowadays, but not all protein powders are made equal. Look for a complete, high-quality protein that contains all essential amino acids and consider vegan options. Look at low inflammatory vegan options such as pea protein and rice powder.

Vitamin C for Dopamine

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for overall health, but did you know that it also plays a role in maintaining healthy brain function? Vitamin C is critical in modulating the neurotransmitter dopamine at the synapses in the brain. Vitamin C is naturally found in certain foods and many fruits and vegetables. 

Try a daily supplement if your child doesn’t eat a balanced diet. Don’t take vitamin C less than an hour before or after taking ADHD medication (and some other medications), as it can prevent the meds from being adequately absorbed.

Calamansi

Calamansi is a citrus fruit rich in vitamin C and gives you clearer skin. Calamansi- strawberry is always a good idea.

Orange

If you like your bacon and eggs in the morning, pair them with fresh-cut oranges to boost your vitamin C and brighten your day. Or go for an orange breakfast smoothie that powers up your immune system.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a refreshing summer fruit you can enjoy alone and mix with other tropical fruits in your smoothie. 

Lemon

Lemon makes a refreshing drink that’s rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Try lemon with your strawberry and your favorite berries for that balance of sweet and citrusy. Lemon also works well on a green smoothie neutralizing the flavors of leafy greens, or just add it to your water. 

Apples

Apples make thirst-quenching and filling smoothies. Mix them with more intense fruits to make a filling refreshment. Apple banana smoothies are sweet, and kids usually love them.  

Watermelon

Watermelon is a refreshing fruit that will quench your thirst on a hot day. Try it with coco water or toss in a berry smoothie.

Healthy Sugar Alternatives

Sugar is the kryptonite of ADHD kids, triggering impulsiveness and hyperactivity, and blood sugar dysregulation. Keep the ADHD symptoms at bay by adding these sugar alternatives to your smoothie instead. 

Fruit Purees  

Capture the sweetness of fresh fruit in a bottle! Fruit purees are made from fruits pressed into a creamy mixture. 

Banana or Banana Puree

Banana makes kids happy! It is a superfood rich in potassium, fiber, and natural sugars. Enjoy a banana smoothie or combined banana with other fruits for layers of sweet creaminess. 

Stevia

Sweeter than sugar, stevia is an intense natural sweetener from the leaves of a Stevia plant. It has zero carbs, zero calories, and a non-glycemic response. It is incredible at reducing blood sugar levels.

Stevia is an excellent way to make green juice such as Moringa Lemonade taste better.

Monk Fruit 

Is a little-known but increasingly popular sugar alternative. It is a sweetener with minimal impact on glucose levels, yet very sweet.

Citations:

Additude (2021), Omega 3s: The Ultimate (ADHD) Brain Food

https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-omega-3-benefits

Additude (2021), Why Sugar is Kryptonite: ADHD Diet Truths

https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-diet-nutrition-sugar/

Cappana-Hodge, Roseann (2021), It’s Gonna Be Okay

https://www.amazon.com/Its-Gonna-Be-Ok-Improve-ebook/dp/B092KFNPG6

Harvard Health (2021), Food and Mood: Is there a connection?

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/food-and-mood-is-there-a-connection

Harvard School of Public Health (2022), Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen? 

Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place! 

There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann: 

You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s professional speaking page to see how we can work together. 

Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of  media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.” 

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2022

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